After a massive screening of existing drugs, researchers at Johns Hopkins have found two classes of compounds that may work against the Zika virus.... Read more »
Xu, M., Lee, E., Wen, Z., Cheng, Y., Huang, W., Qian, X., TCW, J., Kouznetsova, J., Ogden, S., Hammack, C.... (2016) Identification of small-molecule inhibitors of Zika virus infection and induced neural cell death via a drug repurposing screen. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.4184
'Scientists study link between unhealthy pregnancy diet and ADHD' went one media headline covering the paper by Jolien Rijlaarsdam and colleagues .The name of the research game was again to draw on data derived from ALSPAC (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children) (yes, again) to look-see "the degree to which prenatal high-fat and -sugar diet might relate to ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] symptoms via IGF2 DNA methylation for early-onset persistent (EOP........ Read more »
Rijlaarsdam J, Cecil CA, Walton E, Mesirow MS, Relton CL, Gaunt TR, McArdle W, & Barker ED. (2016) Prenatal unhealthy diet, insulin-like growth factor 2 gene (IGF2) methylation, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in youth with early-onset conduct problems. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. PMID: 27535767
We all know that we can quickly lose cardiovascular endurance if we stop exercising for a few weeks, but what impact does the cessation of exercise have on our brains? New research examined cerebral blood flow in healthy, physically fit older adults (ages 50-80 years) before and after a 10-day period during which they stopped all exercise.
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Alfini, A., Weiss, L., Leitner, B., Smith, T., Hagberg, J., & Smith, J. (2016) Hippocampal and Cerebral Blood Flow after Exercise Cessation in Master Athletes. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2016.00184
The evidence for a beneficial effect of a Mediterranean style diet (MedDiet) on brain health grows on a regular basis.For those interested in a good summary of the effects of the MedDiet on cognition, I recommend reading the free full text review recently published in Frontiers in Neuroscience.In this review, Roy Hardman and colleagues searched for research studies on cognition and the Mediterranean diet published between 2000 and 2015.A figure in the review proposed several mechanisms where com........ Read more »
Hardman RJ, Kennedy G, Macpherson H, Scholey AB, & Pipingas A. (2016) Adherence to a Mediterranean-Style Diet and Effects on Cognition in Adults: A Qualitative Evaluation and Systematic Review of Longitudinal and Prospective Trials. Frontiers in nutrition, 22. PMID: 27500135
After the recent discovery of extensive fossilised riverbeds on Mars, the idea that the Red Planet could have been habitable 4 billion years ago has gained more traction.... Read more »
Davis, J., Balme, M., Grindrod, P., Williams, R., & Gupta, S. (2016) Extensive Noachian fluvial systems in Arabia Terra: Implications for early Martian climate. Geology. DOI: 10.1130/G38247.1
In the previous post in this miniseries I’ve used the example of Brexit referendum to explore how allowing lies to be systematically upheld in public discourse is poisonous for democracy itself. The bleak conclusion was that people voted Brexit on…Read more ›... Read more »
Aktipis, C.A., & Kurzban, R.O. (2004) Is Homo Economicus extinct? Vernon Smith, Daniel Kahneman and the evolutionary perspective. Advances in Austrian Economics, 135-153. info:/
Neblo, M. (2003) Choices, Values, and Frames, edited by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, New York: Cambridge University Press. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 22(3), 491-493. DOI: 10.1002/pam.10145
Former elite athletes with osteoarthritis are more likely to have symptoms of common mental disorders (distress, sleep problems, adverse alcohol use) compared to those without osteoarthritis.... Read more »
Schuring N, Aoki H, Gray J, Kerkhoffs GM, Lambert M, & Gouttebarge V. (2016) Osteoarthritis is associated with symptoms of common mental disorders among former elite athletes. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. PMID: 27488101
I was rather interested to read the findings reported by Richelle Mychasiuk & Jong Rho  suggesting that the expression of certain genes might be affected by adoption of a ketogenic diet in one of the more familiar mouse models of autism (the BTBRT+Tf/J 'dangermouse').The ketogenic diet (KD), consisting of "a high-fat low-carbohydrate anti-seizure and neuroprotective diet" has been of some interest to autism research over the years (see here). Its potential usefulness has also been explore........ Read more »
Mychasiuk R, & Rho JM. (2016) Genetic modifications associated with ketogenic diet treatment in the BTBRT Tf/J mouse model of autism spectrum disorder. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 27529337
Contrary to the popularly held belief, biofuels increase carbon emissions. ... Read more »
DeCicco, J., Liu, D., Heo, J., Krishnan, R., Kurthen, A., & Wang, L. (2016) Carbon balance effects of U.S. biofuel production and use. Climatic Change. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-016-1764-4
Activity of the medial prefrontal cortex after psycho-spiritual healing (Baldwin et al., 2016).Everything we do and feel and experience changes the brain. Psychotherapy, juggling, taxi driving, poverty, reading, drugs, art, music, anger, love. If it didn't we'd be dead. Why should prayer be any different? The trick is to accurately determine the structural or physiological changes that are unique to a specific activity. And when assessing the effectiveness of clinical interventions, how the chan........ Read more »
Baldwin, P., Velasquez, K., Koenig, H., Salas, R., & Boelens, P. (2016) Neural correlates of healing prayers, depression and traumatic memories: A preliminary study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 123-129. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2016.07.002
Interfering with your vision makes it harder to describe what you know about the appearance of even common objects, according to researchers. This connection between visual knowledge and visual perception challenges widely held theories that visual information about the world -- that alligators are green and have long tails, for example -- is stored abstractly, as a list of facts, divorced from the visual experience of seeing an alligator.... Read more »
Edmiston, P., & Lupyan, G. (2015) Visual interference disrupts visual and only visual knowledge. Journal of Vision, 15(12), 10. DOI: 10.1167/15.12.10
Recently published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, scientists have revisited the field of rainbow research and all the possible applications it provides.... Read more »
Haußmann, A. (2016) Rainbows in nature: recent advances in observation and theory. European Journal of Physics, 37(6), 63001. DOI: 10.1088/0143-0807/37/6/063001
Scientists, in a recent study, tested the saliva of five primates (including humans) for the MUC7 gene, which could give us deep insights into evolutionary paths.... Read more »
Taxonomy is an important aspect of microbiome research. Whether we are studying communities of bacteria, viruses, or other microbes, there are benefits to labeling microbes. Taxonomic names immediately give us information about their relationships to each other, such as similar bacteria being grouped into the same genus...... Read more »
Krupovic, M., Dutilh, B., Adriaenssens, E., Wittmann, J., Vogensen, F., Sullivan, M., Rumnieks, J., Prangishvili, D., Lavigne, R., Kropinski, A.... (2016) Taxonomy of prokaryotic viruses: update from the ICTV bacterial and archaeal viruses subcommittee. Archives of Virology, 161(4), 1095-1099. DOI: 10.1007/s00705-015-2728-0
Thompson, C., Amaral, G., Campeão, M., Edwards, R., Polz, M., Dutilh, B., Ussery, D., Sawabe, T., Swings, J., & Thompson, F. (2014) Microbial taxonomy in the post-genomic era: Rebuilding from scratch?. Archives of Microbiology, 197(3), 359-370. DOI: 10.1007/s00203-014-1071-2
If zika didn't seem scary enough in the media, there is new data showing that there could be a new neurological complication of infection with the Zika virus.
... Read more »
Today I'm directing your reading attention to a really, really interesting paper by Lynn Waterhouse and colleagues  (open-access) whose review findings suggest that: "the ASD [autism spectrum disorder] diagnosis lacks biological and construct validity."The paper is a bit of a long read but most definitely worth it as the quite complicated subject of exactly what goal the label of autism actually serves is discussed. The results of various questions posed by the authors suggest: "No ........ Read more »
The most complex piece of matter in the known universe is the brain. Neuroscientists have recently taken on the challenge to understand brain function from its intricate anatomy and structure. There is no sure way to go about it, and researchers in Madrid proposed a solution to the problem.
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DeFelipe, J., Douglas, R., Hill, S., Lein, E., Martin, K., Rockland, K., Segev, I., Shepherd, G., & Tamás, G. (2016) Comments and General Discussion on “The Anatomical Problem Posed by Brain Complexity and Size: A Potential Solution”. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy. DOI: 10.3389/fnana.2016.00060
Here’s another collection of tidbits that did not stimulate full posts but that we found interesting enough to share with you so that you can investigate them more for yourself if you so desire. While this post contains more serious information than we usually share in these sorts of posts, it is useful information to […]
Myth-busting: ”Today’s adults have a shorter attention span than a goldfish”
So is that juvenile offender a “wayward youth” or a “superpr........ Read more »
Gibson, R., Chennu, S., Fernández-Espejo, D., Naci, L., Owen, A., & Cruse, D. (2016) Somatosensory attention identifies both overt and covert awareness in disorders of consciousness. Annals of Neurology. DOI: 10.1002/ana.24726
An unusual study reports the effects of emoticons on human brain activity: Neural correlates of text-based emoticons
South Korean neuroscientists Ko Woon Kim et al. used fMRI to record brain activation in 18 volunteers who were shown various expressive text symbols, in both the Asian 'vertical' and Western 'horizontal' styles:
However, it turned out that the brain doesn't really respond to emoticons at all: there was no significant difference in the brain response to the real emoticons... Read more »
Kim KW, Lee SW, Choi J, Kim TM, & Jeong B. (2016) Neural correlates of text-based emoticons: a preliminary fMRI study. Brain and behavior, 6(8). PMID: 27547502
Mathematics is an important part of modern society. Science and engineering are hard to imagine without mathematics, and even simple things such as calculating the cost of groceries involve mathematics. So, it's not strange to stop and wonder what mathematics is. That turns out to be a very difficult question.... Read more »
Stefan Buijsman. (2016) Philosophy of Mathematics for the Masses: Extending the scope of the philosophy of mathematics. Stockholm: Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University . info:other/978-91-7649-351-9
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